ST. PETERSBURG — Wide-eyed and hungry, the teenage boys burst through the Taco Bell doors like it was their kingdom. Miles away from their first-period finance class at Northeast High School, they'd come for just one thing.
The four 17-year-olds had agreed to play hooky just an hour earlier when a classmate came to school clutching two handfulls of breakfast food. Not just any breakfast food. These were breakfast-style Crunchwraps from Taco Bell, and they were free.
It was already 8 a.m., and only three hours remained to claim the coveted prize. The promise of the Crunchwraps beckoned.
The teens exchanged eager glances. The decision was already made.
Moments later, at Taco Bell, they scurried to the counter as a cashier greeted them with those three magic words: "Sausage or bacon?"
On Thursday morning, Taco Bell honored two of America's greatest pastimes: baseball and Crunchwraps.
The fast food chain planned to spend at least $10 million providing a free breakfast wrap to its customers, all due to a stolen base in the World Series.
Last Tuesday, during the first game of the World Series, Kansas City Royals center fielder Lorenzo Cain stole a base, prompting Taco Bell's "Steal A Breakfast" promotion.
After playing for a World Series record of 14 innings, Cain himself gave a shout-out to the fast food restaurant.
So this morning, Crunchwrap enthusiasts like Russ and Karen Barmmer, a retired couple from St. Petersburg, had Cain to thank for their meal.
The couple sat in the restaurant Thursday sipping coffee and finishing their Crunchwraps.
"What's nice about living here and doing this," Russ said, "is that there's a Taco Bell everywhere."
There are three restaurants within four miles of each other in St. Petersburg alone.
The couple even thought about completing a tour de Taco Bell Wednesday morning, they said.
The teens sat quietly at their table inside as they scarfed down their Crunchwraps so they could be on time for their next class.
"I'm not tastin' the cheese," Daniel Kilkelly said.
"Yeah, me either," Tyler Grabowski agreed.
But in America, everything tastes better free.